Anime review: Onimai: I’m Now Your Sister!

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As the winter 2023 anime season comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on what has been an underwhelming season. Sure, there have been great series such as Vinland Saga S2, The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Lady, and Buddy Daddies, but apart from those, most of the series were very lacklustre. However, if there’s one anime that stood out for me, it’s none other than Onimai: I’m Now Your Sister! Unexpectedly, this anime became a really enjoyable series for me this season.

Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t expecting much. The main character, Mahiro, a self-proclaimed home security guard, gets his life upended as he’s transformed into a girl by his sister, Mihari. We see that Mahiro is in fact nothing more than a NEET. Troubled by his slovenly lifestyle, Mihari tries to reinvent her own brother by turning him into a girl. Now, the main character being a lazy shut-in already had me considering dropping the anime by the third episode. However, the appearance of Mihari’s friend Kaede causes a change in Mahiro, and we gradually see him becoming more active, even going on errands to help Mihari buy groceries.

Mahiro’s unexpected meeting with Kaede’s sister Momiji was the defining moment, as she’s the one that was instrumental in causing Mahiro to step out of his comfort zone. Momiji introduced her friends, Asahi and Miyo to Mahiro, and next thing you know, Mahiro has his own friend group to attend school with! W character development if I’ve seen one.

However, I can’t help but feel that the side characters carried the show. I’ve already talked about Kaede and Momiji, however, Miyo is also one that deserves praise. She’s a peculiar character, who is a yuri fan, and prefers to observe instead of being part of the action.

Of course, the series had plenty of hilarious moments. I chuckled when Momiji found Mahiro’s hidden porn stash when she visited his home, which led to them ending up in an awkward position(literally). There was also the scene where Mihari got drunk and went on a kissing rampage, with Kaede and Miyo being her victims. The comedy in the show certainly didn’t disappoint.

The story became more serious during the final episode, as Mahiro was faced with the difficult choice of staying as a girl or reverting to being a boy again, and this dilemma happened in the middle of a trip with Mihari and everyone else. As Mahiro reflects on his life since becoming a girl, he ultimately decides to remain as one. The anime ends with a final heartwarming scene, with the two siblings holding hands on a train as they fall asleep.

I’d like to compliment Studio Bind for their work on the animation of the series. The animation is very artsy and cute, especially with the character designs and their movements. I find the animation to be somewhat of a moe type of art style. In addition, the scenery animation was also very detailed, especially during the Christmas episode when Mahiro and his friends went to see the lights and decorations.

In conclusion, I feel that Onimai is an incredibly cute and wholesome anime that I thoroughly enjoyed watching. It made me forget about other mediocre anime series I watched this winter season (cough cough, Bofuri and Spy Classroom, I’m looking at you). While some may look at Onimai with disgust and label it as a “lolicon’s wet dream” because Mahiro becomes a loli, I’d like to view Onimai differently. It’s a story about a NEET whose life changes for the better due to his sister’s actions. If you can make it past episode 1 without dropping it, then it’s an extremely hilarious and wholesome series that shows how people can change for the better, even if they’ve isolated themselves from society.

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